Srinagar, May 30: Wednesday ended as a historic day for Kashmir football fans as Real Kashmir FC beat Hindustan FC 3-2 to become the first club from the valley to secure its berth in the coveted I-League next season.
The grand finale in Bangalore saw RKFC’s Ifham Tariq Mir (22’), Danish Farooq (40’) and Nadong Bhutia (67’) scoring a goal each and thus sealing the historic win for David Robertson’s side that has now come a long way in just a span of few years since its inception.
Real Kashmir just needed a draw on Wednesday to book their place in the I-League. Hindustan, on the other hand, had to win this tie in order to win the championship. Thus, quite expectedly, the Delhi club was in control of the game right from the beginning. Real Kashmir focused more on sitting back and depend on quick counter-attacks.
It was Real Kashmir who broke the deadlock in the 22nd minute. Kouassi Yao sent a square pass inside the box from the right flank which was received by Danish Farooq. He calmly received it and fed the ball to Tariq who found the back of the net.
A goalkeeping howler from Kashmir’s Mithun Samonto brought back Hindustan in the game in the 33rd minute. Samonto failed to grip Pushpender Kundu’s long free-kick from almost 35 yards. Kushant took advantage of it and tapped the ball into an empty net.
Just when it seemed that Hindustan was back in the match, Farooq scored the second goal to restore Real Kashmir’s lead in the 40th minute. Tariq returned the favour by assisting this time.
David Robertson brought in former Mumbai City FC and ATK forward Nadong Bhutia in the 67th minute in place of Farhan Ganie. The substitution proved to be a tactical masterclass as Bhutia netted the third and the winning goal within a minute. Yao sent a low cross inside the box from the left flank eyeing Bhutia’s run. The cross completely fooled Hindustan players inside the box as Nadong netted the ball into an empty net.
Kushant Chauhan converted a header in the 80th minute to bring back Hindustan into the game but it was not enough as Real Kashmir had the last laugh.
Earlier, Real Kashmir, who topped Group A, grabbed a vital 3-2 win over Ozone, to set up the decider against Hindustan. RKFC, coached by former Leeds United left-back David Robertson, thus became the first Kashmiri club to play in the top flight.
In another game, Ozone FC and TRAU FC played out a 0-0 draw to end their second in the third and fourth place respectively.
All India Football Federation congratulated Real Kashmir FC for clinching the 2017-18 2nd Division League to become the first club from Kashmir to qualify for the I-League.
“Congratulations Real Kashmir FC for becoming the first club from Kashmir to qualify for the I-League. I am sure the achievement will inspire the youth to take up the beautiful game and take our Country to higher echelons of International Football,” AIFF President Praful Patel said in his statement.
AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das said, “The I-League finds a new centre in the next edition and AIFF’s vision of a pan Indian league has further been substantiated. Congratulations and good luck for the next edition.
Jaish almost wiped out, no one willing to head it: Army
Srinagar, Apr 24: Army on Wednesday claimed the government forces have “severely targeted” the militants for the last few months and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) militant outfit was “almost wiped out with no one willing to take over it”.
Addressing a press conference here, GOC 15 Corps, KJS Dhillon, who was accompanied by Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbagh Singh, IGP Kashmir SP Pani, and IG CRPF Zulfikar Hassan, said that 69 militants have been killed and 12 of them arrested so far this year.
“Post Pulwama incident, 41 militants have been killed and out of them 25 belonged to Jaish-e-Mohammed, 13 of them were Pakistanis while 13 were A+ category,” Dhillon said.
The GOC 15 Corps claimed that they have targeted JeM leadership.
“The situation now is so that no one is coming forward to take over the leadership of JeM in the valley,” he said.
“Even after Pakistan’s best efforts, we will continue to suppress JeM. The operations against the militants will continue with full vigour and we will not let militancy rise up,” he said, while appealing the local militants to surrender.
“Recruitment of local militants has gone down. In addition, those who surrender, we will take care of their security,” he said.
Dhillon also advised civilians not to rush to the encounter sites.
Asked about the bi-weekly restrictions on civilian traffic on the Highway, he replied, “This is just a temporary measure. There are now relaxations on the civilian traffic.”
On the occasion, the DGP said 272 militants were killed in the state during 2018 and a “large number was apprehended.”
He too claimed that the local recruitment in militant outfits had declined.
“2018 was generally a successful year. There has been less ‘law and order’ problem. We brought many youth (who had joined militancy) back to their homes,” the DGP claimed.
“Elections have been conducted peacefully in the state because of a well-planned security grid. Voter turnover at 13 percent in Anantnag district is not less. People voted despite threats, no one can be forced to vote,” he said.
Asked there were reports that 11 youth had gone missing in south Kashmir during the last one month, the IGP Kashmir said, “Few had gone missing but returned. They had gone missing for other reasons, not to join militancy.”
Held Pak militant paraded before media
‘Chota Dujana was active in Srinagar for over a year’
Srinagar, Apr 24: Police on Wednesday presented a Pakistani militant Mohammad Waqar, alias Chota Dujana before the media, who, they claimed, was arrested from Pattan area in Baramulla on Monday.
During a press conference here, the militant was briefly allowed to respond to media.
“My name is Mohammad Waqar, resident of Miana Mohalla Punjab in Pakistan. I underwent a four-month militant training there,” he said.
“I was told that Kashmiris are harassed, women are assaulted and Muslims are not allowed to offer prayers in Masjids. But I did not find any such thing here,” he replied when asked why had he picked up arms.
The militant was soon moved away.
SSP Baramulla, Abdul Wahid, said Waqar was affiliated with Lashkar-e-Toiba and had arrived in Kashmir in July 2017.
“He was operating in Srinagar for over a year now,” the officer said.
He added that the militant was travelling in a vehicle along with a Kashmiri when they were intercepted by the police near Mirgund, Pattan.
“They were chased and arrested near Chainabal Pattan,” he said.
The SSP said that as per their preliminary investigations, the militant was given shelter in old city as well as uptown areas of Srinagar.
“His plan was to resurrect militancy in Baramulla,” Wahid said.
Malik sent to judicial custody till May 24
New Delhi, Apr 24: A Delhi court Wednesday sent the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief Yasin Malik, arrested in connection with the alleged funding case, to judicial custody till May 24.
The Tihar jail authorities have also moved an application seeking direction to produce Malik through video conferencing due to security concerns.
The family of Yasin Malik, said on Saturday, that the JKLF chief had fallen ill and was shifted to a Delhi hospital after he went on a hunger strike to protest against his “illegal” detention.
Earlier this month, Malik was brought to Delhi from Jammu and was later arrested by NIA in connection with an alleged case related to the funding of militant and separatist groups in Jammu and Kashmir. He was produced in a special court which remanded him in NIA’s custody till April 22.
Malik was shifted to Delhi’s Tihar Jail after NIA secured his production remand. The JKLF chief was taken into preventive custody in February by the J&K police and lodged in Jammu’s Kot Balwal jail.
Malik organisation JKLF was banned last month by the Centre.